upon grace

What do I need to write on a long day of December rain? What do I need to write on a day when I’ve simply felt pale blue? What do I need to write on day when I spend hours trying to say things and feeling discouraged at not finding the connections, the words?

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I need to write truth. I need to breathe truth, inhaling it with every breath, bearing it in my blood to the crown of my head and the chilly extremities of my toes.

What is truth? Truth is that each of these breaths, each of these heartbeats, is grace, happening without any conscious effort on my part. I don’t have to tell myself to keep being alive because these being-alive processes are built into my system and guided by One much wiser than I. I would kill myself trying to keep my heart going at an appropriate rate, unable to think of it consistently enough, unable to keep thinking of it in my sleep. But He guides each beat of each heart on this planet, and He never sleeps.

Truth is that I am every bit as inadequate as I feel. I am never enough of any of the things I should be. No, leave “enough” out of the question completely: truth is that nothing good dwells in me.

Truth is that I do not deserve love, but I am loved. Truth is that I was under a righteous judgement destined for death, but that the righteous Judge made Himself my Savior and gave His life for mine. Truth is that I was dead already in my sins, but God loved me with a great love and made me alive together with Christ. Truth is that I am the recipient of the immeasurable riches of God’s grace in kindness toward me in Christ Jesus.

Truth is that the God of the universe, the God who created time, made Himself small and submitted to the constraints of time and the pains and indignities of a mortal body that we might enter eternity with Him and be clothed in glorious immortality.

Truth is that long days of December rain after nights of too-little sleep need not cause blue moods, because they cannot alter the fact that Christ is my sufficiency. Truth is that if I am never able to write another coherent word, the important Word has already spoken: He became flesh, dwelt among us, let us see His glory.

Even on difficult days, from His fullness I receive grace upon grace.

©2014 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: Encouragement

Some Fridays, when you need encouragement, you find that you aren’t able to write it. So you wait until Saturday.

Last night, I read in Genesis the story of Lot. A sordid tale in many of its parts — the townsmen, the back-looking wife, the desperate-for-babies daughters — yet a picture, all the same of God’s faithfulness.

The Destruction of Sodom

I was struck, in this reading, by one verse. The men — angels? — sent to rescue Lot urge him to get up and get out of the city, lest he be swept away by the destruction God had ordained. “But,” Genesis says, “[Lot] lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city” (Genesis 19:16).

This is mercy: a violent wrench away from where Lot thought he wanted to be, away from his forecasted future, his future sons-in-law, his home, all that was familiar. It is no less mercy for having been painful.

And in this view of God’s mercies, I take encouragement.

Thanks, Lisa-Jo!

Use the button above to read more post’s on this Friday’s prompt, “Encouragement,” or two join in the writing yourself.

©2014 by Stacy Nott

on things found

The invitation came as a surprise, an answer to a question I was only beginning to ask, grace before I knew I needed it, and a reminder, even when it was only an invitation, that all the disparate threads really are bound up together, that yesterday is not — as it sometimes seems — irrevocably lost in tomorrow.  We never know what sorts of roads we are weaving, all unsuspecting: I didn’t know years ago, when I let the girl who’d been laughing so hard she’d cried use my dorm room mirror to wipe the mascara off her cheeks.

So I went to the house of the girl who is a visual artist — disconcerting thing, because asking questions means admitting you don’t know, and there is no dictionary of her vocabulary to allow for clandestine self-education. But sitting across the table from her in her cozy living-dining-art-studio room, I found I didn’t need a dictionary, because there wasn’t any language barrier. I found that I with my words and she without them both speak of the same things.  And I found myself tremendously encouraged.

I came away with a splinter of wood in my pocket, a fragment rescued from the refuse of art-making to be made art. It has two sharp ends and is painted gold.  It signifies the sufferings of which we are privileged to partake, the preciousness of the wounds which make us beautiful, the purpose of even the fragments we sweep into corners.

And, as meaning inevitably layers on meaning in this world where we never can mean all that we will mean, it now carries other connotations: fragrant food and lamplight and the girl with the warm smile across the table from me encouraging me to be bold, to chase after the things that matter, to take hold of abundant life, even when it looks as though it is all splinters in my hands.

And so, for you who read this: I pray that you, also, will see that the splinters may be golden, that the discarded bits may become beautiful, that the loose ends will not be loose forever.

©2012 by Stacy Nott